Monday, 30 April 2012

Someone turned the tap off

At last it stopped raining!  It was very misty first thing and it only brightened up for a short time but the alpacas and lambs were visibly pleased by the change in conditions.  The young alpacas were pronking round their field whilst the lambs were chasing round and kicking their heels.

Thankfully all is well in the sheep field today, and all the lambs/ewes in the shed are doing ok.  The lamb I mentioned on last nights blog has required a bit of topping up from the bottle today as mum seems to be struggling to feed him enough.  Maybe this is what caused the problems in the first place.

The chickens have been particularly messy today, Dave the cockerel has been wading in muddy puddles with his ladies and is filthy.  There is a picture on twitter if you want to see the state of him.

I have spied Mr Fox again, this time he was right near where the hens live (not that they are very often anywhere near their coops during the day), he then headed in the direct of the sheep.  He soon learnt that alpacas were to be given a wide birth!  The alpacas have certainly had an effect on the fox presence on the hill, which has in turn increased the number of rabbits we are seeing.
I can't believe it's almost midnight again, there really aren't enough hours in the day at the minute.  It's a good job I've got used to functioning on about 4 hours sleep a night, although I do admit I'm getting rather grumpy! 

Today is Paul's birthday; it doesn't seem a year ago that we were celebrating his 40th birthday on our newly purchased hill - how things have come on in a year.  Anyway that gave him a good excuse not to get up and do the dawn check and bottle feed; not that he has ever done it yet!

The dry morning soon turned into another horrid wet and extremely windy afternoon and evening. We have so much water round the land at the minute that I managed to capture this water fountain in my mobile phone.

With the weather at its worst on the tea time sheep round we found two rather hypothermic tup lambs and a ewe not that interested in them.  Paul has already had to remind her she had responsibilities at lunchtime!  A quick drive back to the shed to pick up the trailer and put the weakest of the two in front of the aga we then came back with mum (who was caught relatively easily) and the second lamb.  By the time I got in with twin number two sadly number one had passed away.

Thankfully number two is now much warmer has some milk from the bottle and is now back with mum in the shed happily feeding from her.  This particular ewe is 8 years old so is rather old and doesn't have an awful lot of milk but she should manage with one, assuming she doesn't forget about him!

On the alpaca front, it's that time of year again when I can be found laid out of the field looking up at udders.  It is much easier to see what is or isn't there when the girls have been sheared.  Anyway, Oonagh is starting to get a bit of a bag but nothing on Lualeni and Sienna.  Saying that though last year Lualeni's milk came very fast so I'm keeping a close eye on all three of them.

Friday, 27 April 2012

The sheep are continuing to birth, last night was rather hectic with a pair of hypothermic lambs whose mum didn't want to be caught and another ewe with a stuck lamb that needed catching.  Both girls are now in the shed with their babies enjoying the dry conditions!

Saying that it has actually been dry today which the alpacas have been enjoying, the girls have gone from sheltering to sunbathing in less than 24 hours.

The first three girls due to birth, Oonagh, Sienna and Lualeni are looking rather large, closely followed by Willow, Little Miss Irraquoy and Mary.  I'm hoping that the weather will improve before the girls start birthing.  Oonagh is starting to bad up now so I'm still thinking she will be first.

Carol and Dave popped over today, Carol had some more knitting, whilst they were here they fed all the lambs for me, who are due their bedtime feed now, so I'd better got and mix up the milk!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

I have no idea what is going on with our website at the minute but I am struggling to get on it, can anyone else view it or is it just me?!  I was all set last night to blog and I couldn't get on blogger either.

Lambing is now slowing down which is good, it has been a real eye opener for someone used to lambing pet sheep to now have 100(ish) Blackface ewes, which it has to be said are pretty wild.  I've helped Alan, our old neighbour out over the years but he has mainly mules on flat fields so if there is an issue they are generally catchable.

Our blackies on the other hand are in a 50+ acre field which has numerous drains and steep bits which are difficult to navigate the quad round so trying to catch a ewe is difficult and trying to catch it on your own almost impossible.  Even when they are in the middle of lambing and have an issue they still have the energy and desire to jump up and run like the clappers!

A prime example, we had one on Sunday which was lambing, Paul had gone on the rounds as we'd had alpaca visitors and Sky were here (yes we finally have a telly; not that it's been switched on yet).  He came back to say I think one is having difficulty.

Off we went, and sure enough this girl was struggling, I could see (from a distance) there was a head and not a lot else.  We then tried to corner her, luckily she was on one of the banks over the burn so we thought we would be ok - Wrong!

She ran past both of us, jumped the burn with the lambs head dangling from her back end bouncing all over the place.  After a bit of a chase Paul just managed to get the crook on her to slow her down so I could grab her.  The sight I saw bought tears to by eyes.

The poor girl was trying to lamb twins at the same time, there was one full head out, swollen with tongue hanging out and half of a second head, half of one leg and the foot of another!  As you can imagine things were very tight, I managed to get in and establish the it was one leg from each lamb; great.

I really was struggling to sort this out and I was convinced the first lamb was dead.  I was struggling to push the second lamb back in as the ewe was have contractions and pushing against me and I couldn't get in far enough to find the second leg of the first lamb. 

Eventually I managed to push the second lamb in far enough to get the first one out with only one leg and the scruff of its neck.  To my surprise it was alive, just.  So whilst Paul held the ewe with one hand and swung the lamb with the other I birthed the second twin who was also very weak.

After a few days in the shed the twins (girl & boy) are doing fine and are back out in the field with their mum, who despite or ordeal loves them.  Although in this weather they probably wish they were still inside!

'Out in the field' took on another meaning yesterday, if you follow our tweets you will know.  I went out shortly after lunch to check the sheep and spotted the boys in the big field we are currently dividing.  Paul had removed their padlock at the weekend as it was sticking and obviously hadn't shut their top gate properly and the wind had blown it open.

12 boys, 25 acres of fresh grass and the girls to get excited about meant not much chance of food enticing them back!  Eventually I managed to catch each of them (some easier than others) and return them to their paddock.  As I'm sure you can imagine Paul was not popular.  I didn't want to leave them out because there are lots of things out for fencing which they could have got hurt on and part of the bottom fence is just barbed wire.

It was quite funny watching the boys charge round kicking their heels in excitement.  Hughie seemed to enjoy jumping over the drain whilst Golden Guinea just stood posing at the girls.  Some of the young girls were enjoying his advances - they will be mated in soon!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Daddy's girls

Before Paul complains at me again I thought I'd better do a quick blog in between warming another little lamb in front of the Aga and going to give the pet lambs (all 7 of them) their bedtime bottles.

We've been lambing now for what feels like weeks, I'm absolutely exhausted, but needs must and seeing as there is only me on lambing duties the days are long and the nights very short!

The alpacas are all doing well, the first three pregnant girls are actually nearing their due dates, Oonagh and Sienna are on 340 days with Lualeni on 333.  None of the girls have any milk yet so hopefully they will hang on until lambing is over.

Having spent so much time with the sheep lately because of lambing it makes me appreciate even more the interaction, intelligence and complete trust my alpacas share with me.  I'm really looking forward to their birthing season beginning.  A week's sleep would be nice first though ladies!

I nipped out with the camera a couple of days ago to get some photos of the world class Meketaten, however she was far too nosey to pose.  Instead her half sister, Lady Godiva, also from Golden Guinea wanted to show herself off.

Her full sister Nadia is just as much a poser as her sister, and dad for that matter.  These two girls are so alike, both in ways and fleece characteristics.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Staying mostly dry (Paul)

Thanks for your 'best' wishes Judi - entry to 'my' tractor cab is by invitation only!  Only thanks for letting us know that our lizard is a 'common' lizard, I'm sure he/she deserves a much more exciting name than that!

Anyway, Debbie is off feeding a shed full of lambs, ewes and Wesley (our prize Blackie ram).  I'm sure Debbie will fill you all in but in a nutshell, 2 nights ago Debbie and Janet (mother-in-law, talks and knits a lot - you must remember?) were heading back to the house and shed in the dark, late at night with a ewe and triplets in the trailer when Janet noticed Wesley in the stream with his head in the water.  Debbie ran down to him, leapt over a barbed wire fence and managed to pull his head out of the water until Igot there.

Between us we then dragged his fairly lifeless body out of the water, when Debbie and janet rushed back to the house and back again with an empty trailer.  I pushed his stomach a bit and positioned him facing downhill to help the water run out of him.  He was not good.

The 3 of us then put him in the trailer - boy he is heavy! We got him to the shed and put him in a pen.  We were hoping he would hold on as he is a real character and what an amazing set of horns he has (updated picture to follow...) anyway - we gave him an oral drench (actually for ewes that have just had twins to give an energy boost - he didn't complain anyway) and then tried to stand him up so the blood went were it needed to.  It was well after midnight when we left him and he still wasn't able to stand.  Fingers were crossed for the morning. Next day he was trying to get up, although could only managed to move his back legs and he kept shaking his head - water in the ears methinks? Anyway, a few tasty bits of turnips, best hay and ewe nuts and he is starting to recover.  Wish him well please?

Alpacas - yes we still have our fantastic boys and girls! Oongagh and Lualeni are first to birth in the next couple of weeks - we will get some updated photos of them!

This weekend has been more fencing - those pesky hogs (one year old sheep) and found another wall to wreck so it was a call to action for me (in the tractor of course because the weather was not very good), Dave, Debbie and Janet.

Here's the quick photo story:

The invaders gathered for their next assault on the wall...

Even as fence building was in full swing, the invaders waited patiently to make their next move...also it must have been cup of tea and shortbread time because the tractor cab is looking eerily empty...

With the new post and pig netting fence completed, the invaders move in to undertake a detailed examination for any signs of structural weakness.  The battle is won, what about the war...?

Night all! Paul.

We are still here and working very hard! (Paul)

Hi everyone,

Sorry about the lack of blogging, it is crazy here! Lambing, fencing, Wesley (our prize Blackie rup/ram nearly a gonner yesterday night), foster lambs, alpacas having a stream of visitors...a peaceful country life??!!  No chance!

As you can tell by the time of this posting time has yet again past us by today.  Just to prove there is life at Barnacre Alpacas here at Liberty Hill Farm, I took this picture from my cosy tractor cab this afternoon.  Here you can see Dave, Debbie and then at the back Janet (mother-in-law) all getting very wet fencing in the rain this afternoon.  The weather was pretty bad and so I had to shut the sun roof in the tractor cab, terrible!

Debbie and I are enjoying discovering all the different animal life here on the hill.  I'm sure you remember hearing about the curlews, skylarks, short eared owl, buzzards, voles, mice, pied wagtail, chaffinches, goldfinches and fox. Well yesterday a barn owl was swooping over the sheep field and today I saw a lizard as you can see below!  I'm no lizard expert so can anyone tell us what it is? It was about 4 inches or 15 centrimetres long.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

All quiet on the western front

Lambing has been surprisingly quiet today; probably because mum has arrived for a few days and was hoping to see lots of births.

I think she's quite enjoyed keeping her eye on the ewes with me, she was that keen she even got up just after 5am with me this morning.  Maybe by the end of the week she can do the early morning rounds on her own!  It's ok she doesn't read the blog whilst she is here!!!

I have been keeping a very close eye on on of the ewes that lambed yesterday, she had twins.  Another ewe seems to have 'adopted' the tup lamb, despite me returning him to his mum numerous times she keeps pinching him back.  Mum seems to realise she's lost something but whilst walking round calling she's not letting her ewe lamb feed.

By this evening the lamb was looking very weak so I have bought her in along with her mum - yes we managed to catch the ewe and put her in the trailer.  The little lamb didn't seem to have the energy to suck from mum, but having had a bottle she is looking a bit happier.  I'm not hoping that mum will decided to let her feed and they can go back out to play.

I'm hoping that the noise of these  two additional lodgers in the shed it may stimulate by little abandon lamb and she may perk up.  She is still not looking at all good despite me throwing everything at her  I can think of.

Along with lambing and everything else I am busy knitting a specially ordered alpaca garment from one of our top class girls.  I'm struggling to keep my eyes open now though so I think it might be bottle time for the lambs then bedtime for me.

Monday, 16 April 2012

A day ahead of myself

I've been thinking it's Tuesday all day today and was going to blog about twins Tuesday, but seeing as it's Monday I can't call it Twins Tuesday can I?!

We've had 5 sets born today, plus a single tup lamb.  Most of today's new arrivals have been boys which isn't very good for our organic growth of the flock, but with plenty more left to lamb hopefully the girls will catch up.

He's one set of chunky boys an hour old.
On the alpaca front all is well, Oonagh is getting fatter by the day, I'm sure she will beat her sister to birth.  There is lots of hormones in the girls field at the minute with everyone entering the latter stages of their pregnancies.

Oh I do like this time of year, new life always puts a smile on your face.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Chasing at Barnacre

The weather over the last couple of days has been mixed to say the least, we've had sun, snow rain and hail all with in a few hours if not minutes of each other.

We have been trying to get on with the never ending fencing job, but with some of the ordered wood still not here it is proving challenging to say the least.  Today we did manage to get 200 meters of stock fencing wire attached so in between everything else I need to get that stapled on completely.

The lambs are starting to come thick and fast now, we've had 15 born over the last two day including two sets of twins a couple of hours ago; why they don't birth at sensible hours like the alpacas is beyond me!

As for my abandoned lamb, don't worry Jayne I won't make any rash decisions.  I have had quite a few foster lambs over the last few years though in varying stages of life and death including ones starved of oxygen at birth and the 'slow' ones and this little girl is different.  She is still alive but not great today, I'm still trying all I can but I fear the outcome will not be good.

On a much funnier note, I caught Freyja playing chase the chicken again today!  She will be two years old in a few months and is still so immature, she is lovely though and I love her just the way she is.

She has obviously been watching me play chase the lamb and wanted to play too!!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Head or heart?

Despite the nice dry sunny weather today not a single ewe has produced, yet yesterday and the day before when it was terrible they thought it would be good to give birth!

Whilst on one of my many rounds today I took the camera with me, this is the view of the alpacas that the sheep get, can you see any?  I have left the photo large so you should be able to click on it to enlarge it.
 Here is a zoomed in photo of the same area...
The sister of the lamb in the shed is now being trotted round the field with her mum who seems to make no allowances for her little legs! 
As for her sister I think I have worked out what the problem is, I think she is blind.  I thought she was a little slow but deep down I knew there was something else not quite right.  She never comes to me for her bottle but she does follow noise.  She will try and suck at anything once you get close to her until I put the teat right in front of her mouth.  I can also almost touch her eyes before she blinks.

This isn't good news, I'm hoping that it is a temporary problem that she will overcome.  Her eyes look normal and she's feeding well so fingers crossed.  If it's not temporary then I have a real dilemma, do I follow my head or my heart?  What sort of life can I give to a blind sheep, she won't be able to return to the flock.

It's times like this that I realise I'm going to struggle to farm commercially, I've already been to the vets with one of the texel lambs who had an ingrowing eyelid and an ulcer (see below), not exactly cost effective, but a necessity in my book!

She is now doing just find, and I now know how to deal with such matters which apparently are quite common in texels, I've never seen it before though.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Abandoned lamb

Yesterdays abandoned lamb seemed a bit brighter this morning, she is much stronger than she was and is taking her bottle well.

I was up and out at first light to check on the sheep, there was one blackie who had not long lambed but sadly the poor thing was suffocated, it was a ewe lamb.  I thought maybe this ewe could adopt the abandoned lamb if her mum wont take her back.

Initially I couldn't find the ewe with her lamb from yesterday, they were obviously hiding as I found them on the second round!  At lunchtime I tried to reunite her with her second daughter.  I'd kept some of the afterbirth so I rubbed this on her to take any smells of me off her.

Unfortunately mum still wasn't interested in her, she did have a sniff but then she took her first daughter off out of the way.  Oh well it was worth a try, mums milk will be much better than the powdered stuff.

On to plan B, catch the ewe that had a dead lamb and try and adopt this one on to her.  Trailer in place and her baby in the trailer I tried to get the ewe in the trailer; umm not as easy as getting the pet sheep in.  In fact I failed miserably, I really do think I need to think about getting a dog.  Paul isn't a dog person, in fact he's scared of most of them so it's not something he is at all keen on, but it's not often him having to move the blackies on his own.

Back to plan A, pet lamb!  Who now needs a bottle so I best go and get on with it......

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The first blackie lambs

Today we have had our first blackie give birth.  I thought it was a single lamb initially but then I spotted a second one in the reedy grass.

They are both tiny in comparison to the fatties produced from our pet lowland sheep.  Here is a family photo taken from a long distance with my zoom lens.
 I think this may be the only family photo we get as mum doesn't like her second lamb; the tiny one.  It was quite weak from the start but kept shouting for it's mum....
But she just isn't interested in it, she's been left twice.  She will sniff it but just doesn't want to encourage it to feed or hang round for her. 

In the end I had no choice but to bring her in, she was cold and weak and clearly hadn't fed.  Here she is in front of the aga to warm up.

After a couple of feeds she is looking a bit happier and depending on how she is in the morning I may try to  reunite her with her mum and sister (yes two girls).  She is still rather unsteady on her feet but she looks happier than she did.

I'm hoping that this is just a blip and the rest of the blackie birthing will go according to plan!  Keep tuned to our Twitter feed for frequent updates.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

World Class

Today was the start of the World Alpaca Conference and due to commitments on the farm I have been unable to go which is a real shame, but I did get to soak up some of the atmosphere during the judging of the fleeces last week.

I am so proud to announce that our home bred girl, Barnacre Meketaten came second in the junior brown class, competing against fleeces from around the world.

She is a stunning girl bred from our brown stud Golden Guinea and our brown girl, Nefertiti, Paul purchased off his own back a few years ago when he went to pick up Guinea.

Meketaten is a fantastic girl who has done well at all the shows she's entered, including being reserve champion at the Kelso show last year.

Here she is a couple of days old.

And shortly after shearing...

Monday, 9 April 2012

I'm pleased to report that the pesky escaping sheep have remained contained today, the threat of mint sauce seems to have done the trick.  That and the miles of additional fencing we have constructed over the weekend.

They have been pacing up and down looking for the next weak spot, but from the initial 20 we are down to a hardcore of 8 who are still trying to escape, the rest seem to have given up for the time being.  We still have 3 heading to Otterburn that haven't come back yet.  I think I may have to rent a dog!!!

On the alpaca fencing front, the girls gate is now fixed to the gate post rather than being tied up and the boys have a fastener on theirs.

It is fast approaching birthing season for the alpacas and some of the girls are certainly looking swell.  Oonagh and Sienna are on 325 days with Lualeni close behind on 318.  Going on the girls personal averages Lualeni should actually birth first, but we'll see.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Living on borrowed time

We have been doing more sheep reinforcements today. The 20 ewe lambs that Paul bought last year are a pain in the neck.

I told him at the time they would be more trouble than they were worth, but they even beat my estimations.  The fence on last night's blog was to stop them going down and into the woods and hopefully keep them contained.

So first thing I was up and out to see how things were, the fence was still in tact and the stone wall to our neighbours horse field was fine so I sighed a sigh of relief. 

On the way back in for my breakfast I thought I'd check the other side to see if the missing three from yesterday had returned only to find the ones that I thought were behaving munching away on the grass next to the alpaca girls!

Once we got them back to the field they were supposed to be in we decided the only way they could have got out was over into our neighbours horse field so a fence in front of the stone wall was called for.

They have been keping an eye on procedings all day.  On my final sheep check of the day I was greeted by....

They were obviously planning their next escape route because whilst mum and I were on the rounds they tried to jump the stock fencing and the wall.  These flippin sheep are living on borrowed time!

The fence now has another line of wire above it and we have everything crossed that tomorrow they will still be in the correct field.

The three that we still haven't got back were last seen heading off to Otterburn!!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Lamb update

It has been another busy day on the farm today, firstly most of the lambs that have been in the shed have been put out with their mums, with the exception of Ruby and her lambs as one has an ulcerated eye and is off the the vets on Tuesday.

Here are the rest of the lambs from our pet sheep Mia's twins, one boy and one girl, yet to be named.

Next up we have Ebony's son, who has vet wrap on is leg due to a rather floppy foot. 
Next we have Annie's daughter, the only single of the pet flock.  We have named her Belle, partly because it goes nicely with Annie and partly because this was the little Tinker that caused Paul so much grief whilst I was away.  As you can see she's fine now! 
Any finally the youngest addition to the flock we have Mocha's twin daughters, yet to be named.  I'm trying to think of suitable dark coffees.  Any suggestions gratefully received. 

Despite it being a Bank Holiday fencing continues, it's been a real family affair this weekend.  Here's dad telling Colin (my brother) not to do it like that!!  Paul was sat in his cosy warm tractor when he took this. 
Even Faith was helping; I think the sticky out tongue was helping with the balance! 

Friday, 6 April 2012

The wanderer returns

I'm back!!

After a busy few days down in Oxford where the World Alpaca Fleece Show was being judged (more on that next we), I'm now back in firmly in control.

It is very unusual for me to leave Paul in charge at the farm and boy did it show, I think he was run ragged by the pet sheep lambing all over the place in the blizzard conditions on Tuesday.  He did a sterling job of warming Ebony's lamb and feeding her colostrum.  She is now one rather large happy lamb who should be back out in the field tomorrow all being well.

To get into the shed Mocha tricked Paul into thinking she was lambing in the atrocious weather, but when I got back very early on Thursday morning there was no sign of any lambs.  I'd threatened to put her out on Thursday afternoon so she promptly went into labour.  Luckily she waited until we had made a rather special Easter delivery.

We had to deliver 5 pet boys to their new home.  I always find it so difficult to part with our alpacas, they are all so friendly and I spend hours with them I really miss them.  I know Jeannine and Craig will love spending time with their new boys.

The boys couldn't explore more than a few steps before stopping to eat the lovely new grass again!

Not long after we returned from taking the boys Mocha went into labour, the poor thing was really struggling to deliver the first lamb so eventually I decided to lend a hand.  The lamb is enormous so I can see why she was struggling, a lovely black ewe lamb.  The second twin soon popped out with much more ease, fantastic, another black ewe lamb!

That is all the pet sheep now lambed, next week the wild blackies start, I can it being a rather different story if any of those need help delivering.

Today it was back to fencing, we have family staying at the minute so we had apprentice's on post knocking duties; mum and Sarah.

I will take some photos of all the new Easter lambs tomorrow so you can enjoy those.

Monday, 2 April 2012

A man's perspective (Paul of course)

Stand by your blog accounts I'm on duty (Paul).

Debbie has gone down South somewhere to organise the World Alpaca Golden fleece show - nothing like letting your hair down on a busman's holiday?!   She left grumbling that the workmen had let 3 spot out (one of her kittens).  1 spot and Smudge (more cats) are asleep.

I'm working from home and taking care of the farm which Debbie claims is such hard work - let's see shall we.

My first job was sort the builder out.  Right do this or don't get paid, your choice matey.  Sorted. Next!

Emails, telephone meetings, quick paper to write. Sorted. Next!

Check the sheep at lunchtime - 40 minutes I think Debbie says it takes her - what does she play at - the quad does 70 km/h no problem - coming through - all sheep there, I think.  Next!

Lunch. Some suggestion that I have no culinary skills - you must be kidding - 3 slices of Aga toast and 1,2,3,4 scrambled eggs - and Debbie was wondering what to do with all the eggs - easy! Next!

Emails, telephone meetings....Next!

2 deliveries - sorted, next!

Farm insurance renewed - next!

cup of tea - and a choccie biscuit - ok all the choccie biscuits - yum, sorry Dear - next!

Water for animals - ah ha.  Allegedly Debbie spends hours each day lugging large quantities of water up and down the hill - I think she is in training for Brittain's strongest woman - me on the other hand - no chance brain power 10/10.  The proof?

Debbie has spent the last x months carrying gallons of water up a very steep hill - her tools of the trade?...
Chickens supplied for scale purposes only.

Now I may be a weed - ok a big weed - but ain't no way I'm lugging that lot up the hill 3 times a day.

Hello, Robson and Cowan country superstore? It's Mr Rippon here - yes the brainy weedy one - yes the one with the strong wife - you can deliver - see you in an hour.

Am I going to have arms like popeye carrying all that water up the hill?  No way ho-say....
2 trips up the hill (although it did take an hour to fill up each load) and every field has a water trough that is overflowing.  The girls can go paddling again!  Better hide my new toy and put the buckets back out for when Debbie comes back. Next!

Feeding rounds: chickens, alpaca boys/studs, alpaca weanlings, alpaca girls. Next!

Tea time.  Now then, need to demonstrate that I can cook and need to use up some of the rows of eggs - will have loads more tomorrow because I forgot to collect todays from the chicken houses...

I've got it! Des oeufs broilles sur toast. Well, I'm in a rush - wait a minute I have an idea to make it different from lunch: Cinq oeufs! (five eggs).  Yum!

More emails...a man's work is never done.

Sheep rounds - more water supplied - easy with my new toy!   Sheep seem to like having a bath too!

Chase the ewe lambs back from half a mile away - repair the wall.  Put some pig netting up to try and stop them (failing that, I have some small explosives...).

Sheep rounds again.  Blimey Ruby has given birth.  Two lambs one big, one small.  Ruby is from Mia - who is keeping watch.  Unfortunately Ruby seems more interested in her mum than her lambs. Right - nobody panic (at least the lambs were out and there was no sticking my hand in - phew!).
Return to base camp and pick up the trailer and a few ewe nuts.  Return to mum and lambs - Mia still on guard. Drop tailgate - Mia jumps in of course - could be some food involved.  Kick Mia out and put lambs in - Mia's lambs jump in and Mia goes back in - Ruby walks off. Nice one.

Fast forward.  Male cunning deployed.  Back to shed with 2 lambs and Ruby - stuffing her neck with ewe nuts.

Shut chickens in. Next!

Pesky big lamb wont feed.  Attempt series of subtle and not so subtle actions none working.  Swear and curse at lamb.  Success - drinks a gallon and then gets head butted by Ruby for its troubles.  What sex are the 2 lambs - might tell you tomorrow.

Farming and working from home. Doddle - no idea what Debbie does all day.  Blimey - is that the time!  Better go and check the maternity unit in the shed.

Round 2 tomorrow...